Children’s Rights and Climate Change: The Obligations of Governments


Tuesday 28th November, 2023

5.00pm-6.00pm AEDT

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The recent UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General Comment 26 (GC26) on children’s rights and the environment, with a special focus on climate change, calls for urgent action to address the impacts of climate change on children. As the world gathers for COP 28, it provides new clarity on the obligations of governments regarding legislative, administrative and other measures related to environmental degradation and climate change as they affect children.

Governments will now be expected to apply GC26 in their implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The CRC is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world, and includes Australia and many Pacific countries amongst its list of State Parties who have accepted  binding legal obligations to uphold children's rights. This webinar explored how governments should apply GC26, and how civil society organisations can encourage this process.

Ann Skelton outlined the priority issues for government action identified by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and provided an overview of initiatives undertaken by state parties to the CRC following the release of GC26.

Annika Reynolds addressed the expectations of civil society in Australia following the publication of GC26 and what actions can be expected from current Australian governments. They outlined the involvement of ALHR in pressuring the federal, state and territory governments to protect the rights of children in the context of the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.

NOTE: At least half an hour will be allocated for questions and answers, and comments


Ann Skelton is the Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. She is a professor of private law at the University of Pretoria, where she is UNESCO Chair in Education Law in Africa, and she also holds the Chair in Children's Rights in a Sustainable World at Leiden University.

Annika Reynolds is Senior Co-Chair of Environment and Human Rights at Australian Lawyers for Human Rights. They are an inaugural Member of the ANU Fenner School Research Hub on Gender, Human Rights and Climate Change convened by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change.


Dr Noam Peleg, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law and Justice, UNSW, Book Review Editor, The International Journal of Children's Rights.

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